Like last week’s spiced potatoes, shrimp play well with so many flavors—including Indian spices. You could simply turn that potato recipe into a shrimp dish, cooking the sauce first and adding the shrimp at the end. But if you want to serve shrimp and potatoes together, it’s more fun to vary the flavors.
I like to do that by changing the tang. Last week’s potato dish picks up tang from pickle brine, tomatoes, and as an optional bonus, tamarind. This week’s shrimp dish grabs it from yogurt. I get more flavor from homemade yogurt, but store-bought also works. With that flavor shift, you can rely on the same spice base. A little onion, garlic, and ginger just enhances the base.
In the end, two similarly spiced dishes taste completely different yet complement each other beautifully. The same concepts can be applied to many other spiced shrimp dishes, letting you use your pantry power to put sunshine on your table even when you’re snowed in.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 2 main ingredients plus some aromatics and spices.
1. Cook the flavorings and yogurt into a sauce.
2. Add the shrimp.
3. Simmer and enjoy.
Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
1/4 teaspoon Home-Smoked Chili Paste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup Fresh Yogurt
1/4 cup water (optional)
Defrost the shrimp under cold running water if frozen, and then remove the peels, saving them for Shrimp Stock. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt on the shrimp; set aside. Halve and thinly slice the onion; chop the garlic and ginger.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili paste and cook an additional 1–2 minutes, until golden. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Lightly whip the yogurt and add a spoonful at a time to the onion mixture, stirring constantly; cook for 2–3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add the shrimp and remaining salt, stirring to coat with sauce. Pour in the water as needed, and then bring the mixture almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes, just until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Tips & Tricks
- If you make Indian spice blends, you can replace the ground spices with 2–3 teaspoons of homemade curry mix. For an even more complex flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of homemade garam masala.
- Homemade yogurt is often thin enough to become saucy as it heats. If you thickened your yogurt by draining whey, or are using commercial Greek yogurt, add water as needed to make a bubbly sauce. If the sauce seems too thin, you can stir in more yogurt when serving.
- These shrimp are flavorful enough to be garnished with a squeeze of lemon and a little fresh cilantro. You can always add more flavors—underneath, on top, or alongside (as explained below).
Twice as Tasty
Spicing shrimp is so straightforward you can do it without a recipe, but having one at hand can inspire new combinations. Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt requires minimal pantry power. If you cook regularly, you can probably scrounge up most of the ingredients, whether from your homegrown storage setup or from the store. Make this dish when you have yogurt in the fridge: buttermilk or even heavy cream can be too thin, and sour cream or pureed cottage cheese would give a quite different flavor (but might be fun to try). If you’re out of shrimp, try the sauce for fish or another protein or for vegetables—even a yogurt-sauce variation on Indian-inspired potatoes.
I often eat Indian-spiced shrimp on their own with some lightly seasoned vegetables. For a fuller one-dish meal, serve them over rice and top them with chopped mango and homegrown sprouts. Use some of your freezer stash by mixing in frozen broccoli or corn for a fusion meal. Or create a spread with spiced potatoes, cheese, and flatbread. Don’t forget the chutney and pickles.
Once you start spicing shrimp, you’ll be digging in your pantry for other world-tour flavors. Here are some of my favorites:
- Spanish: Spanish Shrimp in Garlic Oil
- Italian: Last-Minute Shrimp Risotto
- Japanese: Wasabi-Marinated Shrimp
- Moroccan: Grilled Shrimp with Chermoula
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